Brent S. Rushall, Ph.D., R.Psy.

San Diego State University



This course is available as a course for SDSU students or as a distance-learning course for academic credit through SDSU's College of Extended Studies.

To initiate enrollment in SDSU's College of Extended Studies the following steps need to be completed:

  1. Follow the College of Extended Studies' secure on-line registration procedure and pay the appropriate fee.
  2. Send an e-mail to Professor Rushall confirming your registration.
  3. Receive the course username and a password from Professor Rushall as well as instructions about how to purchase the course manual.

When this course is taken through SDSU's College of Extended Studies, it is the student's responsibility to arrange for examinations to be taken at a testing center at a convenient recognized academic institution. It is also the student's responsibility to provide the information as to whom the examination materials at that center should be sent and to arrange for examination proctoring. These are services normally offered by institutional testing centers. These arrangements must be communicated to Dr. Rushall so that examinations can be forwarded. It is best if these arrangements are made before the start of the scheduled course dates. If they are not made early enough, it may not be possible for a remote student to complete the course because examinations cannot be arragned in a timely fashion.


TIMING: The conduct of the course and the timing of completion of required tasks is in concert with the scheduled regular classes at San Diego State University during academic semesters and its summer school. Students within the San Diego region can avail themselves of the "extra" enrichment experiences that are afforded regular students.

PREREQUISITES:Successful completion of ENS 303 Applied Kinesiology, or its equivalent, is the formal prerequisite for course enrollment. It is assumed that students will have a basic knowledge of physics and mathematics. Mathematical skills required include solution of equations with one unknown, geometry (Pythagoras' theorem), and trigonometry (solving sine, cosine, and tangent given some sides and angles).

Computer skills are essential. Familiarity with accessing the World Wide Web, using E-mail, and downloading browser plug-ins is needed to proceed in this course. Listening to audio files being streamed from a web site is a necessary skill.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Mechanical principles applied to gross motor movements of the human body, and the analysis of selected skills. This will provide a biomechanical basis for sound teaching, coaching, and leadership practices. The course will also include a review of mechanical factors affecting implements and machines used during selected gross motor skills.

COURSE CONDUCT: The major proportion of the course content is provided in written form and supplemented by lectures that can be accessed through the World Wide Web from the ENS 306 at SDSU Biomechanics of Human Movement introductory page and its constituent links. Examinations are conducted on announced dates. Lectures are now available on a compact disk. However, a student will still have to regularly access the course home page because of announcements that are posted there.

REQUIRED TEXT: Rushall, B. S. (2001). Biomechanics of human movement -- Course content manual. Spring Valley, CA: Sports Science Associates. [Available from Sports Science Associates, 4225 Orchard Drive, Spring Valley, CA 91977 -- Phone: 619-469-1537]

OPTIONAL COMPACT DISK: Rushall, B. S. (2001). Biomechanics of human movement -- Course lectures. Spring Valley, CA: Sports Science Associates. [Available from Sports Science Associates, 4225 Orchard Drive, Spring Valley, CA 91977 -- Phone: 619-469-1537. Note also that the content of this compact disk changes each semester. The compact disk contains all lectures, the latest version of RealPlayer, and instructions on how to load the course onto the hard drive.]

OPTIONAL TEXTS: (a) Luttgens, K., & Hamilton, N. (1997). Kinesiology (9th Ed.). Brown and Benchmark. (b) Hay, J. G. (1993). The biomechanics of sports techniques (4th edition). Englewood, Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT: One set of earphones that can be plugged into a computer to listen to audio files.

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT: Calculator, protractor, and ruler for examinations.

EVALUATION CRITERIA: Grades will be awarded depending upon the number of points accumulated for three examinations. They are:

  1. First and mid-term examinations, each worth a maximum of 35 points.
  2. Final examination worth 30 points.

Examinations will require substantial written answers. The writing component of this course is the short-essay answers required in each examination. They will be evaluated for expression, comprehension, and spelling.

A maximum of 100 points can be earned in the course: Grades will be awarded according to the number of points accumulated from the three examinations. Letter-grade assignment will be as follows:

A =

more than 83 points

"outstanding achievement; available only for highest accomplishment"

A- =

80-83 points


B+ =

77-79 points


B =

74-76 points

"praiseworthy performance, definitely above average"

B- =

70-73 points


C+ =

67-69 points


C =

64-66 points

"average; awarded for satisfactory performance"

C- =

60-63 points


D+ =

57-59 points


D =

54-56 points

"minimally passing; less than typical undergraduate achievement"

D- =

50-53 points


F =

less than 50 points


Incompletes will not be given in this course.

EXAMINATIONS: Three examinations are conducted. Students in the San Diego region will be required to take the examinations along with the regularly scheduled course for the semester or summer school of enrollment. Other students are required to arrange for testing to occur on those same dates at a convenient academic institution's testing center. Examinations will be on the content of recorded lectures and the required course workbook. Good scholarship will be demonstrated if examination answers exhibit content obtained from textbooks that supplements the provided information.

Examination schedule:

  1. Examination #1 covers topics 1-14 and is scheduled approximately one-third of the way through the semester. Examination duration will be 1.25 hours.
  2. Examination #2 covers topics 15-26 and is scheduled approximately two-thirds of the way through the semester. Examination duration will be 1.25 hours.
  3. Examination #3 covers topics 27-37 and is scheduled during final examinations week.


Course Outline

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

1. Biomechanics - What is it?
2. Biomechanics in exercise science
3. Forms of motion
4. Linear kinematics - basic concepts
5. Description conventions
6. Element descriptions
7. Computation of velocity and acceleration
8. Vertical movements
9. Two-dimensional analyses
10. Projectiles
11. Trajectory
12. Angular kinematics
13. Angular-motion vectors
14. Movement sequences

15. Linear kinetics
16. Newton's Laws of Motion
17. Forces relevant to practical settings
18. Weight
19. Levers
20. Normal reaction
21. Friction
22. Impact and bounce
23. Spin
24. Impulse
25. Conservation of momentum
26. Work and power

27. Fluid forces
28. Buoyancy
29. Fluid resistance
30. Drag force
31. Lift force
31. Spinning objects in flight
33. Torque
34. Jumping
35. More complex activities involving rotation and translation
36. Moment of inertia
37. Transfer of momentum
38. General principles concerning rotary motion
39. General principles to increase performance forces
40. Principles of the application of forces
41. General principles to decrease resistive forces


The course experiences have been designed to allow students to progress at their convenience with the only restrictions being attending examinations. Students who have difficulty in directing their own study should consider enrolling in an alternative section of this course.

It is a student's responsibility to follow the course schedule, use the learning experiences provided, and to meet all deadlines. A failure to do so will result in no grade portion being obtained for the missed experience.

COURSE CONTENT: The course content comprises 41 topics as listed above in the Course Outline. Necessary information is contained in the required course manual, Biomechanics of human movement -- Course content manual. The manual is printed on one side of a page. The accompanying blank side of a page provides space for recording supplementary notes. This information is to be studied. Each topic provides references to two textbooks that can be consulted to produce further understanding of the topic. It is the student's responsibility to become knowledgeable about the lecture topics and the content of the course manual.

RECORDED LECTURES: There is at least one recorded lecture for each topic in the course content manual. The lecture series is stored on SDSU's academic computer and can only be accessed after entering a course password and then using software that reads RealAudio/RealPlayer (.RA and .RM) files. It is assumed that students will listen to every lecture while following the course content manual. This is designed to produce both visual and auditory experiences for the course's topics. A student who fails to listen to these lectures should not expect to pass the course. The lectures can be accessed whenever and as often as needed. Lecture access is facilitated when a compact disk is used.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: Each topic on the Biomechanics of Human Movement web site has a FAQ file that contains questions and answers that have been posed over the current and previous semesters. These files should be reviewed when studying a topic for they are a way of gaining supplemental knowledge and better understanding.

COURSE CHANGES: If an examination date is altered notification will be made by posting appropriate information in the "Urgent Notice" banner of the Course Control Page.

Messages and questions about the course can be sent to Dr. Rushall via E-mail at brushall@mail.sdsu.edu.


CHEATING: Students who cheat on any activity will lose total credit for that activity. The event will be reported to the appropriate university authority.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR WORK COMPLETION: The conduct and content of this course is clearly delineated. It is each student's responsibility to organize his/her life so requirements will be met. A student's course performance will be severely jeopardized if course progress is retarded. A student is responsible for meeting the dates to attend examinations. A failure to attend any examination will yield a score of zero (0) points for that examination. There will be no incompletes given for this course.

The Swimming Science Journal and Coaching Science Abstracts are written and edited by Brent S. Rushall. Content in both journals is appropriate for this course.

The information in this course represents that of Brent S. Rushall and not necessarily that of San Diego State University. Brent S. Rushall takes full responsibility for the content presented. This work is supported by the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences.